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Based on my going-on five years of expat experience in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico's Heartland, I do not think the current expat guides such as Howell, Merwin, and Luboff, apply here. It is so stark in fact, that the difference between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Here are two cities, two Colonial Mexican Heartland towns, so close, and so different. What's changed it? The Gringo presence and the Mexican's subsequent adapt...

Mexico As A Concept And Not A Reality Part 3

Mexico As A Concept And Not A Reality Part 3Based on my going-on five years of expat experience in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico's Heartland, I do not think the current expat guides such as Howell, Merwin, and Luboff, apply here. It is so stark in fact, that the difference between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Here are two cities, two Colonial Mexican Heartland towns, so close, and so different. What's changed it? The Gringo presence and the Mexican's subsequent adaptation (subjugation?) to the Gringo presence.Is this a bad thing? Is it bad that the Americans have swept into towns such as San Miguel de Allende and with their money effectively changed it from uniquely Mexican to something all together different? My view is that it is a bad thing. My traditional understanding of expatriation, one about which I feel passionately, prevents me from seeing the changes in San Miguel as something good. It prevents me from seeing the Gringos in San Miguel as expatriates. What that city has become is a playground for the rich Gringo. The Mexicans in the town live to serve the Gringos. That is something with which I take great exception. However, for most Americans, living in Mexico would be impossible without a town like San Miguel whose entire infrastructure has been redesigned and functions to serve the American who wants to live there. I cannot argue with the fact that what San Miguel now is, is what it is, and there's no going back to what it was. The ultimate sadness is that the town's Mexicans I am not sure ever had a choice in the matter.Mexico as a ConceptSo, what is the Mexico as a Concept that draws Americans to towns like San Miguel de Allende or any Prime Living Location in Mexico? What is the Concept of Mexico about which the popular expat guides, online websites, newsletters, seminars, speak? What Concept or Image of Mexico is attracting the American who wants to leave the U.S. to live here?Primarily, Americans think they can come and live here because Mexico and her people are just like us. I mentioned this in our first book, The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico. I tried using the phrase, "Don't forget, Mexico is not America." throughout the book to try get across the point that is very much lost on Americans: "Mexico is not America." Americans typically do not hold any depth of cultural awareness and too often think that all that is necessary to live with Mexicans is throw some money or technology at them under the guise of "Now, we gringos are here to help these poor third-world Mexicans" charities and soon the Mexican will jump through America hoops and be "just like us." I've often wondered if Americans would be so willing to move here if they knew in advance that there is not someone "just like me" under that Mexican's mestizo skin.Do not think me glib or disrespectful here. This American woman in Guanajuato was once telling me how the Gringo Charity to which she belonged was here so that they might help these "little brown people." At first I thought I had misheard her until I asked my wife in private who had also heard this hideous remark.I remain convinced that Americans think they can come to Mexico to live because Mexicans are just like Americans, only in a different wrapper. That seems to be the extent of America's cultural awareness. I cannot begin to count how many times I have heard the following two statements from the mouths of American expats:1. I know they understand what I am talking about and are pretending they don't.2. If they are going to work for me, they are just going to have to adapt to me and assimilate my ways, including speaking English.I really wonder if Americans would come here if they really knew what lies deeply layered underneath the surface of the Mexican mind?Americans, and especially Texans, think that because they've eaten tex-mex, attended some cross-border festivals, have driven across the border to go shopping, worked with a few Mexicans in a construction project, screamed at a few of those projects' Mexican workers, had a few Dos XX beers while camping in Reynosa, can say "Yo quiero Taco Bell," that they've pretty much mastered Mexican culture and living in Mexico will be a cinch. Americans (and don't forget those Texans) delude themselves into thinking they know Mexicans. They are more willing to admit that there are vast language and cultural differences between themselves and the Chinese than they do with Mexicans.They are convinced they are cultural experts when it comes to Mexicans and therefore willingly pack it up and move here based on this delusional Concept about Mexico: Mexicans are just like us; Mexico is just like America. They can handle it, they reason, because after all, they are just Mexicans and are just like us.NEXT: Mexico As a Concept and Not As a Reality part 4

Five Great Sights To See Safaris Of Africa Live!

Five Great Sights To See Safaris Of Africa Live!

There are literally hundreds of national parks and preserved wildlife areas in African safaris that you are sure to find yourself cramping all them into limited schedules. That way, you may see all. but would you rather experience safaris in excessively fast pace and never get the marvel from them or take one place at a time and leave the rest for another vacation and indulge yourself in true beauty. Well, that is practically a personal preference.To trim down the possibility that you would not take pleasure from the safaris of Africa, we have listed five hottest destinations in this article. Please read onSerengeti in TanzaniaThis is the famous sight that we normally see in videos documenting the annual migration of animals to find fresher grounds. In fact, the event is duly ranked as one of the most wonderful occurrences in the world. Endless safaris are filled with animals, evoking the spirit of survival and wildlife, all longing to find some place to stay during the worst times of the year.Masai Mara in KenyaWanting to see cats dominating the wildlife, go to Masai Mara, the haven for cheetahs, lions and leopards.See them in action and see them nearthis sight is most perfect for cat enthusiasts as they offer endless miles of vegetation which is conducive for survival. Not too mention, conducive for game viewing.However, this is strictly not the perfect place if you want to be alone. Since it is popular, it had become the hottest sight for the outpour of tourists.Kruger National Park in South AfricaFor superb accommodation and sheer delight of seeing myriad of animals, plants and bird species, this park seems to be one of the perfect place to offer thrills that safaris in Africa may present. This is due to the reason that the park shelters diverse ecosystems that allow different species to coexist within a single location.Selinda Reserve in BotswanaThough this haven is less popular among novice safari travelers, it is still the top choice of seasoned travelers who seem to return to the place over and over and over again. The high standard of accommodation and high concentration of species draws them towards this sanctuary.South Luangwa National Park in ZambiaThis is one of Africa's best kept secrets, which only waits for its own time to be. It is like a diamond that is about to be discovered amidst the roughness of the stones. Someday, as experts say, South Luangwa National Park will claim it proper place among the top vacation spots in Africa.

Do Rental Car Agencies Charge More For Drivers Under Or Over A Certain Age?

Do Rental Car Agencies Charge More For Drivers Under Or Over A Certain Age?

When you are traveling, there are many things to think about and do before you leave for your destination. You have to pre-plan a lot of services and book flights, hotel rooms, rental cars and more before you even leave your home. There is a lot to do and a lot to think about, but it is always better to do these things before you leave so that you can fully enjoy your vacation. No one wants to arrive at their vacation destination only to find out that there are no rental cars available!In the last few years car rental agencies have tightened up their rules and regulations quite a bit. A few years ago anyone could rent a car as long as they had their drivers license and were over the age of eighteen. Today however, a lot of rental companies have put some stipulations on the class of the renters license and also on the age of the renter.A lot of "car rental" companies now have the rule that a driver has to be at least twenty five years of age and carry a full license to be able to rent one of their vehicles. This limits their business a little bit, but they feel that there will be less accidents involving their rental cars this way. At some agencies this rule is bent a bit; for example, the renter can be under twenty five, but they still have to have their full license, or they have to be over the age of twenty five but dont have to have their full license.Many rental agencies that do not have these rules will actually charge more for drivers that are younger than twenty five or drivers that do not yet possess their full license. This extra charge can be anywhere from an extra twenty dollars to an extra one hundred dollars! Basically, a lot car rental companies are being more careful with younger drivers. Sometimes they will also request that the renter supply a credit card before they can rent a car.Most people expect that there could be an age limit on younger drivers who are looking to rent a car for a few days, but not many people realize that rental agencies are also putting age limits on senior citizens. Many times senior citizens tend to slip under the radar with these types of regulations, but some rental companies are now including them in their age standards. They tend to actually be stricter with older drivers than with younger drivers! At some rental places, if you are over their set age limit, you can forget about renting a car from them. At other places, if you are over a certain age you will have to pay an extra charge to acquire rental services from them.There are still many car rental agencies that do not yet have these rules and regulations set up, and anyone can rent a car from them with no worries of extra charges and fees.

Mix With The Jet-setters On Sardinia's Costa Smeralda

Mix With The Jet-setters On Sardinia

Set in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, stunning Sardinia is a popular destination for those who live for a variety of aquatic sports and who long for unforgettable seaside holidays beside the Italian islands clear waters. The renown north-eastern Costa Smeralda of Sardinia, with its 55 kilometres of pinkish white sand beaches, rocky promontories, and classic port towns, has been home to jet-setters since the Aga Kahn and his pals stumbled upon the place in the 1960s and bought a large part of the coast to build a series of extravagant resorts. Today, beautiful women brazenly bathe topless, while their male friends are busy securing their flashy cruising yachts in the bay.While this stretch of Sardinias Mediterranean coast may be a millionaires playground, theres nothing to stop wanna-be jet-setters from getting a slice of holiday action. Walk the streets of trendy Costa Smeralda and you may spot a familiar TV or movie star, a model, or other celebrity. Of course the paparazzi make a living catching their subjects unawares, but who wants to be mistaken for a snoop? However, dont expect to find Costa Emeraldas main public beaches packed with movie stars. The super rich and famous practice social filtering by escaping to hard-to-reach places such as Cala Pietra Bianca or the exquisite Poltu di li Cogghi beaches protected from the rest of us by their isolation and/or lack of signposting.From OIbia to the Costa SmeraldaThe gateway to the Costa Smeralda, the town of Olbia, is one of Europes most expensive resort areas. It has a large port where ferries from the Italian mainland berth and a small airport. Before departing the town, shop for exquisite lace, wood carvings, carpets and the delicious bitter honey that is harvested during autumn. From Olbia youll travel to Porto Cervo, home to the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club. Although it is packed with rich Italians and their yachts, Porto Cervo lacks the Mediterranean fishing village feel of other Sardinian towns and villages. You will marvel at real estate prices in the realtor shop windows and be amazed at how much a small bowl of pasta can cost you. Be sure to check out the resort hotel of Cala di Volpe, 10 kilometers south of Porto Cervo, where many of Europes royals, media stars and hangers on come to revel in Costa Smeraldas beauty. Nearby Il Pevero, one of Europes most spectacular golf courses, attracts golfers of all standards who come for the game and get distracted by the scenery.Liscia di Vacca, part of Porto Cervo, has a charming stretch of sandy beach and panoramic views of the islands of Maddalena and Caprera. In fact, La Maddalena is an archipelago of twenty-seven islands that have been preserved as national park due to the variety of the vegetation and the unique animals found there. A ferry from Palau can take you to the largest of La Maddalenas islands, but its best explored in a rented boat, when you may catch a alluring glimpse of dolphins swimming next to your bow in the crystal clear waters. For an overview of the area, take the windy road to the top of Monte Mora, highest of the granite peaks that dominate Costa Smeraldas rugged coast.Of course its no longer just the jetsetters who have time and cash to spare for a Costa Smeralda holiday. And while you might have stay in less expensive accommodations, its still possible to get the feel of life as a jet-setter on a trip to Costa Smeralda on Sardinia.

Free And Easy Adventurous Trip In Singapore

Singapore has been known to some as the Garden City. Singapore's strategic position has helped it grow into a major center for trade, communications and tourism. From Singapore to Malaysia, you can take a bus or train ride or even walk across one of the two causeway bridges. Not only that, it is just a quick ferry trip to the key islands of the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane journey away. Singapore, with an airport served by more than 69 airlines, is very much the gateway to Southeast Asia.Singapore has a population of about 4 million, which comprises of 77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians and 1% Eurasians and people of other descent. It certainly is a dynamic city rich in contrast and color as you'll find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture here.Moving around Singapore is easy not only because of the good transportation system, but also because English is the language of business and administration, and is widely spoken and understood in Singapore.If you are an adventure seeker, this could be the things you can do in Singapore.First, visit the Underwater World, which is Asia's first and largest tropical fish oceanarium with over 2,500 marine specimens including the World's Largest Display of Sand Tiger Sharks! It is located in Sentosa, one of the 63 Islets of Singapore. Sentosa is easily accessible by a cable car ride, the new train system that link the islet directly to the mainland. For more information on Sentosa: http://www.sentosa.com.sgIf you have survived the heart-stopping experience with the sharks, reward yourself with lunch at Holland Village, an enclave of charming shops, cafes and restaurants. Holland Village is popular with expatriates and yuppies. You may also want to do a spot of shopping for Asian arts and crafts at the Holland Village Shopping Centre and the Holland Village Complex.After lunch, proceed to the Jurong BirdPark, which is a 20.2 hectare open-concept park. It is the largest in the Asia Pacific and the best in the world. Its collection of more than 9,000 birds from 600 species is among the largest in the world. The Park specialises in birds from Southeast Asia. This is where you can be a falconer for a day, learning to handle trained birds of prey. This is your chance to practise falconry - a sport, which traditionally had been associated only with royalty and aristocracy. For more information on the Jurong BirdPark: http://www.birdpark.com.sgAfter all that excitement, it's time to relax with some light shopping at Bugis Street - Singapore's largest permanent street bazaar. Besides unexpected bargains, you can also find interesting sights like the co-existence of a Buddhist and an Indian temple side-by-side. Also, stop by Bugis Junction, the only shopping mall in Singapore with a glass-covered and air-conditioned shopping walkway, on top of a rich historical background and interesting shophouse architecture.For a different view of Singapore, proceed on to Clarke Quay and have a go at the Reverse Bungy Jump. Feel your heart drop to your feet as you are flung up at great speeds and then jerked back down to earth. This experience is certainly not for the faint-hearted!The day's activities should have worked up your appetite and imagination. Join the Magical Makansutra Food Safari, where you will be able to sample some of Singapore's finest street food. Each safari lasts about three hours and features five food types. We guarantee that our local food like Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs in Tea Soup); one very unique food that you must definitely try. Laksa (noodles in a spicy coconut broth); this is one of the Singaporeans' favorites. Roti Prata (Indian pancakes) will leave you wanting more.After dinner, it's time to walk off those calories if you dare. Go on the unique walking tour of the historic Kampong Glam area where you will be spooked by little-known supernatural stories of Sultan Mosque, Old Istana, Kris shop, perfume shop and the royal graveyard. Embrace thousands of years of Malay folklore and discover forgotten places - places that still haunt the memories of some in eerie twilight.

The Walt Disney World And Disney Stores

Food can be outrageously expensive at Walt Disney World and sometimes, of poor quality. There are also great things with Disney World, like a great way to get rejuvenated and re-energized for the next busy day is to take advantage of one of the luxurious spas that are located at the deluxe resorts from Walt Disney World. Those are actually the only products of his prodigious and rich creativity.Get married in the Disney World but for real. A custom wedding with a more flexible package and with more than 10 guests, ceremony and personalized reception will cost you from $7,500. Not cheap but why not start your marriage in the world of fantasy.You can also start your day early at the Magic Kingdom as each morning one of Disneys theme parks opens an hour early only for guests staying at a Disney resort. If you are a registered guest of a Disney resort, you can drop off the kids at one of their child care centers for around $10 an hour per child where they are given dinner along with classic Disney movies, arts and crafts, and video games. There is plenty of buzz surrounding the Bluezoo, this dreamy outpost at the Walt Disney World Dolphin where it really is worth the cost of dinner just to check out the stunning, underwater like fantasy land dining room adorned with air bubble light fixtures, shimmery silver-blue organza curtains, and carpeting mimicking an expanding drop of water.If the idea of returning to Disney locations over many years to come then you might want to consider joining the Disney Vacation Club. You can also be connected to the Disney World on the Internet where you also find information about the Disney Stores. There is another Orlando, a city full of unexpected smaller attractions, that you might want to take in when you want something a little different or just a break from the crowds at Disney World. To find a location that is centrally located to all the attractions you want to experience and accommodates all of your needs while away from home is easy. The Home Away From Home Resorts are a great choice for those who want a vacation with all the amenities including a full kitchen, living room, and a bath for each bedroom.It is a fact that Walt Disney World is one of the biggest draws to Central Florida for families all over the world and finding lodging near the theme parks is a number one priority to many, especially finding budget lodging. If you want to conduct your own searches and finding some great sites and specials for your family lodging you can be sure to find them on the Internet. There you will also find information about Disney Stores. If you choose Walt Disney World you will learn that they offer some of the best lodging you will come across in your lifetime.Prepare for the Florida weather and a and also make plans with some built in flexibility, then you will have a wonderful vacation in the Disney World even at the height of summer. When you are planning a Disney holiday then you will sure want to find out the insider information that the official sites tend to gloss over. Whatever your budget and dining preferences, Disney World is more than just theme parks, it is an all encompassing vacation destination that lets you do, whatever it is you desire to do.

Summary

Based on my going-on five years of expat experience in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico's Heartland, I do not think the current expat guides such as Howell, Merwin, and Luboff, apply here. It is so stark in fact, that the difference between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Here are two cities, two Colonial Mexican Heartland towns, so close, and so different. What's changed it? The Gringo presence and the Mexican's subsequent adapt...